366 days of gratitude

July 13, 2016

Winter was late arriving but it’s made itself felt with hard frosts in the last few days.

It’s still dark when I get up but I don’t need to see the white lawn to know it’s below zero outside, as soon as I open the curtains I can feel it.

I was reminded of this when I read about a charity which recycles curtains and donates them to people who can’t afford them and it made me feel grateful for curtains that keep the warm in and the cold out.


Word of the day

July 13, 2016

Rememble – a false memory, especially of some place, object or one’s childhood.


Rural round-up

July 13, 2016

Waikato farmer spearheads wireless farming for the future of dairying – Gerald Piddock:

Tony Walters is farming’s ambassador of technology, writes Gerald Piddock.

Dairy farmers could soon be using wireless technology as proof that they are operating an environmentally sustainable operation.

The wireless connection could help sell the New Zealand story to overseas customers resulting in better prices for their products in the market. For farmers, that would mean they get paid better for their milk. 

Tony Walters is convinced the day will come soon when this works and is piloting the technology on his 95 hectare dairy farm at Waiuku in North Waikato. . .

Dairy – It’s Not Rocket Science. Or is It? Innovation the key to shaping the global dairy sector:

Using charged iron to capture tiny particles worth hundreds of dollars a kilo, creating technology to speed up nature more than 300 fold and real-time composition analysis with the potential to revolutionise a multi-billion dollar industry.

These may sound like scenarios borne out of a NASA testing facility, but in fact these space-age innovations have origins right here in New Zealand – part of Fonterra’s asset optimisation programme that’s helped position the Co-operative as a global leader in dairy R&D.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Operations Robert Spurway says R&D is one of the most important factors shaping the dairy industry today, particularly when it comes to selling our capabilities with new and existing customers around the world. . . 

NZ groundspreaders celebrate 60 years of helping farmers:

Nearly 200 groundspreaders from across the country will, next week, gather in Nelson for the 60th Annual Conference of long-standing trade organisation – the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association (NZGFA).

Conference attendees – ground spreaders, suppliers, trainers, auditors and testers – will hear from key speakers including Hon. Damien O’Connor (West Coast MP and Labour’s Spokesperson for Primary Industries), Mark Wynne, CEO of Ballance Agri- Nutrients, Mike Whitty, General Manager Marketing of Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative and Nelson forestry contractor and health and safety pioneer, Dale Ewers.

“Health and safety and accident prevention are high on our agenda this year,” explains Brent Scully, NZGFA President. “Fertiliser spreading is a demanding job involving heavy plant, complex equipment and often steep terrain. Machine operators and spreader drivers undergo intense training; however, errors do occur and accidents do happen. We want to do everything we can to minimise risk for the men and women in this industry.” . .

New fisheries decisions bring closures and increases:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has decided for sustainability reasons to close part of the Southern Scallop Fishery (SCA7), which covers the top and northwest coast of the South Island, for the coming season.

The measures will prohibit commercial and recreational fishing for scallops in all of the Marlborough Sounds and part of Eastern Tasman Bay for the coming season, ending on 14 February 2017.

“This decision follows the latest scientific survey in 2015 which shows a continued and significant decline in the fishery, despite commercial catch reductions over the past three seasons,” says Mr Guy

“The strong message from the scientific evidence, as well as public submissions is the need to take the next step and close parts of the fishery to let it recover. . . 

Turn your best bull calf into cash:

Dairy farmers in the thick of calving are being offered thousands of dollars for their best bull calves by CRV Ambreed.

The company is offering farmers who breed the best bull calves $4,000 if their bull calves are selected for the CRV Progeny Test program. That $4,000 could turn into $11,000 from graduation payments or more if royalty options are taken.

CRV Breeding Program Manager Aaron Parker said with calving now underway, a lucrative source of extra income could be dropping in farm paddocks across the country right now.

As well as being welcome income for dairy farmers, delivering their best bulls to CRV Ambreed will contribute to genetic diversity, and thus advancement, across the national herd. . . 

South Islander quacks his way to US world champs – Brooke Hobson:

Luggate local Hunter Morrow has quacked his way to the US for the world championships in duck calling after taking out the national competition in Tauranga.

More than 20 duck callers from around New Zealand took part in the quack-off on Saturday, where they had 60 seconds to blow a greeting, pleading and feed call – plus a lonesome hen call.

Mr Morrow, a building apprentice, came 5th in the world champs last year.

Fish & Game says he told reporters duck calling had been a “weird obsession” since he was a young boy. . .

Marlborough Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced:

Congratulations to Jordan Hogg from Seresin for winning Marlborough Young Winemaker 2016. The competition took place on 8 July at MRC in Blenheim where six contestants spent the day battling it out across various activities. Hogg scored very strongly across the board showing a great degree of knowledge and professionalism.

Congratulations also goes to Matt Fox from Hyland Viticulture who placed second and Shelley Young from Delegat who came third. . .

Massive New Plymouth store to benefit farmers:

Farmers of the Central and Western North Island are to benefit from a $30 million Ravensdown investment in a new fertiliser storage and blending facility in New Plymouth.

The 14,000 square metre facility adjacent to Ravensdown’s existing store will allow better customer service and better environmental performance according to the farmer-owned co-operative.

“The agri-sector in the Taranaki is feeling the pinch and service towns like New Plymouth are seeing the impact. This investment has spin-off benefits for local contractors and shows Ravensdown’s commitment to the community and to its North Island customers,” said Mike Davey, Regional Manager. . .


Cheese price at 8-year low

July 13, 2016

Food prices decreased 0.5% in the year to the end of June, influenced by lower grocery food prices  which were down 2.3%:

Compared with June 2015, cheese prices were down 9.5 percent, fresh milk was down 3.9 percent, and yoghurt was down 9.2 percent.

“The average price of a kilo of cheddar cheese was $7.68 in June 2016, down from $9.12 in June 2015. This was the lowest price since September 2007,” consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices decreased 0.9 percent in the year. Lower prices for chicken (down 5.3 percent), processed meat (down 2.9 percent), and lamb (down 5.2 percent) were partly offset by higher prices for beef (up 4.3 percent).

Fruit and vegetable prices increased 2.0 percent over the year, with continued record high prices for avocados (up 146 percent), partly offset by lower prices for tomatoes (down 20 percent).

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food increased 1.6 percent in the year to June 2016. . . 

The low price of dairy products reflects the low price farmers are getting for milk.

When the milk price was high there were calls for farmers to subsidise consumers.

No-one is calling for consumers to subsidise farmers, and nor should they. But I hope everyone remembers this when, as sooner or later they will, dairy prices rise again.


Quote of the day

July 13, 2016

If you put down a good, solid foundation and build one room after another, pretty soon you have a house. You build in your speedwork, your pace and increase your ability to run races and think races out. Then it’s possible to run the way we do. Rod Dixon who celebrates his 66th birthday today.


July 13 in history

July 13, 2016

100 BC  Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, was born  (d. 44 BC).

1174   William I of Scotland, a key rebel in the Revolt of 1173–1174, was captured by forces loyal to Henry II.

1558 Battle of Gravelines: Spanish forces led by Count Lamoral of Egmont defeated the French forces of Marshal Paul des Thermes.

1573  Eighty Years’ War: The Siege of Haarlem ends after seven months.

1643  English Civil War: Battle of Roundway Down –  Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, commanding the Royalist forces, won a crushing victory over the Parliamentarian Sir William Waller.

1787  The Continental Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinanceestablishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory establishing  procedures for the admission of new states and limiting the expansion of slavery.

1794  Battle of the Vosges between French forces and those of Prussia and Austria.

1821 Nathan Bedford Forrest, American Confederate cavalry officer, and founder of the original Ku Klux Klan, was born  (d. 1877).

1830 The General Assembly’s Institution, now the Scottish Church College, was founded by Alexander Duff and Raja Ram Mohan Roy, in Calcutta.

1854  In the Battle of Guaymas, Mexico, General Jose Maria Yanezstopped the French invasion led by Count Gaston de Raousset Boulbon.

1863 – Margaret Murray, Anglo-Indian Egyptologist, archaeologist, anthropologist, historian, and folklorist, was born. (d. 1963).

1863 New York Draft Riots: Opponents of conscription began three days of rioting.

1878 Treaty of Berlin: The European powers redraw the map of the Balkans. Serbia, Montenegro and Romania became completely independent of the Ottoman empire.

1916 Vivian Walsh became the first New Zealander to obtain an aviator’s certificate, following the establishment in October 1915 of the New Zealand Flying School at Orakei.

Walsh becomes first NZer to obtain pilot's certificate

1918 – Marcia Brown, American author and illustrator, was born (d. 2015).

1919 The British airship R34 landed in Norfolk, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.

1923  The Hollywood Sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood. It originally read “Hollywoodland ” but the four last letters were dropped after renovation in 1949.

1927  – Simone Veil, French lawyer and politician, 12th President of the European Parliament, was born.

1928 Bob Crane, American actor, was born  (d. 1978).

1941  World War II: Montenegrins started popular uprising against the Axis Powers (Trinaestojulski ustanak).

1942 – Harrison Ford, American Actor, was born.

1942 – Roger McGuinn, American musician (The Byrds), was born.

1950 – Rod Dixon, New Zealand runner, was born.

1950 Ma Ying-jeou, President  of China, former mayor of Taipei, former chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), was born.

1960  Ian Hislop, British writer, editor of Private Eye, was born.

1973  Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of the Nixon tapes to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in.

1985  The Live Aid benefit concerts  in several places including London, Philadelphia, Sydney and Moscow.

1985 – United States Vice President George H.W. Bush became the Acting President for the day when President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery.

2003 – French DGSE personnel abort an operation to rescue Íngrid Betancourt from FARC rebels in Colombia, causing a political scandal when details are leaked to the press.

2011 – Mumbai was rocked by three bomb blasts during the evening rush hour, killing 26 and injuring 130.

2013 – Typhoon Soulik killed at least 9 people and affected more than 160 million in East China and Taiwan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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